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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M cheer brings home third national title

Photo by The Texas A&M cheer team celebrates its 2023 NCA College Championship title.
Cheer 2023 National Champions

On Friday, April 7, hand-in-hand with the 2023 national champion banner over its back, the A&M cheer squad raced into the iconic waters of Daytona Beach, Florida, a rite of passage that only the best of the best get to experience.
The National Cheer Association College National competition is the single event all year where each collegiate squad across the country gets one shot to take home the champion title. The score is based on one opportunity to hit a zero-deduction routine composed of 25%of the preliminary performance on Day 1 and 75% of the final performance on Day 2.
The Texas queens competed in the intermediate all girl division IA with 26 other squads. In the preliminary round, A&M scored 98.0463 and 98.7037 in their final performance to receive an overall score of 98.5393. The team “hit zero” on both days of the competition, a term in cheerleading that refers to completing a perfect routine with no deductions. This means no stunts fell, every member landed their tumbling passes and no safety rules were violated. Every team’s goal is to hit zero at the national competition. The tenths of points for small deductions ultimately separate the national champions from the runner-ups, making for a fierce competition every year among the squads with no room for error.
Along with their national title, A&M cheer also received the highest score in the intermediate division of the 2023 competition, and the second highest overall after the well-known Navarro squad of Navarro College, Corsicana and Netflix “Cheer” stars with a score of 98.5393.
A&M cheer has had its eyes on the prize of taking back the title for three years since the last time winning in 2019. The squad won back-to-back national championships in 2018 and 2019. It is a team tradition to place the past championship banners out at every practice and recognize the end goal for the season.
“I think they look at those banners, every single practice that we lay out, and just thought, ‘alright, this is it,’” coach Atosha Rampy said. “‘This is our last shot,’ and they pulled it out both days. They were amazing.”
Running into the Daytona Beach water after winning a national championship is considered the peak celebration in the cheer community. Every squad looks forward to this after a year of preparation and hard work.
“I’ve never wanted to drench my entire body with clothes on in water as much as I did last night with my socks and my shoes on,” senior squad member Hannah Cooper said with a laugh.
Assistant coach and 2013-2016 A&M cheer alumni Abigayle O’Bannon said the squad took the national title home as a family, not individuals.
“I’ve always preached to them that the best team wins Day 1,” O’Bannon said. “Day 2 is an entirely different ballgame. It’s typically the team that comes in mentally strong and the team that’s a family that’s going to win Day 2. They’ve just pushed really hard, and I think the fact that they are so close really made a difference this year.”
Despite being named the 2023 champions, A&M cheer places the group’s bond over all else and continues to stand as the backbone of the program.
“I think above all else, we just really wanted it for each other,” senior squad member Megan Dehls said. “We weren’t really worried about winning. We just wanted to do our best and be proud of what we did, and I think that’s exactly what we did. And that’s why we won.”
A&M cheer will return home from Daytona Beach, Florida on Sunday, April 8 to add its third national championship banner to the collection and another dazzling, four-post trophy to the shadowbox.
The squad will soon begin recruiting for the 2023-24 season. Follow @tamu_cheer on Instagram and visit its website for more information about recruitment clinics and tryout information.

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